He's fought fiercely to keep fighter purses and other business information like revenue, profit/loss and pay-per-view sales a secret. Information is power and White has kept a tight rein on the UFC’s financial data.
At the same time, he’s been a tireless advocate for the sport. He worked stunningly long hours, traveling the world to explain the basics of MMA to anyone who would listen. In the early days, not that many wanted to hear what he had to say, but it never deterred him.
He was patient, even as the financial losses mounted in those first few years. He believed fully in the product and insisted repeatedly that it someday would become the biggest sport in the world.
That’s long been the domain of soccer, but when White was challenged on it, he would say, “Fighting is in our DNA."
Love him or loathe him, the 46-year-old president of the UFC is far and away the most important figure in the brief history of MMA.
His influence is felt across the sport, from the way the fights are contested to the way they’re presented on television.
White is no fan of a conservative, take-no-risks style of fighting. He encourages the fighters passionately to go for the finish, to eschew a game plan, to forget about risk and to put an exciting match above all else.
He’s motivated fighters to use the style he enjoys by paying the ones who do and by cutting the ones who don’t. Entering a Feb. 6 fight against Roy Nelson, heavyweight Jared Rosholt had won three in a row and six of seven in the UFC.
His style, though, was that conservative one that White so loathed. After Nelson won a decision that night in a bout that was panned by fans and critics alike, White told Yahoo Sports, “That fight set the sport back 10 years.”